In London Arbitration 24/07 - 731 LMLN 3 the vessel was on her way from Manzanillo towards the Panama Canal when negotiations for the fixture took place. The fixture provided for the ship to be placed at the disposal of the charterers “on passing Balboa any time day or night, Sundays and holidays included” and for time to count from “the date the vessel has been placed at Charterers’ disposal”.

The dispute concerned the agreed delivery time. The tribunal found that there was nothing in the exchanges to indicate a binding agreement, from which the charterers could not resile, on the question of when time started and it was found that the charterers were entitled to re-open the position if it could be shown that the ship was “passing Balboa” at some later time than that originally used for the payment of hire.

The tribunal agreed with the charterers’ definition of “passing Balboa”, namely that it had to be on a bearing 90 degrees to that of the ship’s heading. At the time originally taken for the start of hire the ship was by no means off that port, let alone passing it. The evidence did not permit the precise time of the passing, on the charterers’ definition, to be ascertained. However, it was reasonable, in the light of the evidence that was adduced, to infer that the time taken by the charterers, namely 2000 on 27 April, was at the very least not overfavourable to them.

Accordingly, the charterers’ claim succeeded and the owners’ counterclaim would be dismissed.